Anglican Church a leader in calls for ending physical punishment in Wales

11 February 2014

A vigil was held at St  David’s cathedral in Wales recently  calling for an end to violence to children.

The Bishop said

"How we treat those who are weak and defenceless is a marker of a civilised society. Violence against those who can least resist it is a miasma which permeates all levels of life, both the public and the private, where children are concerned. Violence, both deliberate and directed and casual and unthinking and directed towards children especially, and by extension the disruption to the life of family and society, violence, especially when it has the sanction of the state and the law behind it, is pandemic."

The Bishop went on to say

"Physical punishment has for too long been a common part of our culture. But physical punishment as a form of discipline is incompatible with the core religious values of respect for children’s human dignity, justice and non-violence. There are no circumstances under which this painful and humiliating practice can be justified."

Peter Newell, Coordinator, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, said

"This service at St Davids is a very welcome part of a global inter-faith and human rights movement to challenge and end violence against children disguised as discipline.

We all pray that the National Assembly will soon be able to vote on a cross-party amendment to remove the ‘reasonable punishment’ defence and thus give children in Wales the same protection from being hit and deliberately hurt as all other Welsh citizens. This has been the public policy of successive Welsh Governments for more than 11 years. In 2011, the First Minister confirmed that Wales has the devolved power now to go ahead and legislate. Wales could soon join the 35 states globally, 23 in Europe, which have already prohibited all violent punishment of children."

Nearly 130 organisations in Wales are signed up to the Children Are Unbeatable! Cymru campaign which aims to secure legal reform at the earliest opportunity. They include leading parenting, children’s rights and child protection organisations, as well as religious leaders. Click here for more details.